I heard an interview on NPR with an experienced long distance swimmer. This 60-year old woman said she swam from the Florida Keys to Cuba, across the English Channel from England to France, and from Catalina Island to California.
She started at 17 years old swimming from a rocky island to mainland California. 22 miles across the Gulf of Catalina. She walked out the rocky beach at Catalina with a friend in the midnight darkness. The water got deeper and she was off.
Guided by the moonlight and tenacity.
She had no boat within arms reach to guide and protect her. Looking back at this, she said that was crazy.
This teenager and her teenage friend forged ahead mile after mile.
She said swimmers do better by starting such a swim by jumping in at night. The water is calmer in the hours before dawn. The tides are more forgiving.
But then the morning comes and the swells start to pound you. You need an inner compass and perserverance to cut through all that and stay on course.
Like her, it’s hard to get out of the comfort of my bed. It’s cold to emerge from the covers of sleep. Once you dive in, another set of covers envelops your body, the water. It surrounds you completely. Very soon, you don’t feel cold.
My writing practice was to write in the early morning hours from 4:30 to 6:00. The world outside is filled with darkness. The trees outside my window cast shadows from the moon light.
Her story resonated with me because it’s quite similar to the feelings and experience you encounter in writing a novel. At least I did in laboring over 10 years to write my novel Working the Glass.
I literally started in the darkness and move into light. When the novel was complete and hit the bookstores in April, it was the culmination of a long swim.
For every scenario that carries darkness, there’s one that holds out the light. The light and this novel is worth believing in.
A basketball star from Chicago’s Czech neighborhoods seizes his last chance at basketball glory by impersonating his Australia-bound brother on a struggling Czech superliga team mid-way through their season.